“If you live long enough, you’ll make mistakes. But if you learn from them, you’ll be a better person. It’s how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is never quit, never quit, never quit.”
– President Bill Clinton
As Sam Bennett has learned since being recruited to run for Mayor of Allentown in 2001 making mistakes and being attacked by your political opponents is to be expected. It how you respond that matters – critically important to retain the trust of those you are seeking to serve.
As the campaign for Mayor of Allentown 2017 unfolds and other concerns arise, we’ll make sure, in addition to other avenues of response, to update this FAQ page for the public.
When Sam Bennett ran for U.S. Congress in 2008, incumbent Dent chose to attack Sam through the highly successful Properties of Merit funded by Governor Rendell and PA DCED to go statewide. Bottom line? When the dust settled, the press agreed that there was no wrong doing: “consultant finds nonprofit made a ‘good faith effort’ to set an appropriate salary.”
Unfortunately, the press never corrected two important points:
Dent supporters put this clip on YouTube in 2008 when Sam ran against him for U.S. Congress. Late in the evening in the 2001 Allentown Mayor Race, it was too close to call – and she was thanking her supporters for all their hard work. The next day we learned Sam had lost to Roy Afflerbach by only 46 votes. The concern was that she should have been more gracious to her opponent – and Sam agreed. It was a mistake she never repeated again. Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from poor judgment.
Sam was recruited to run by both Republicans and Democrats in 2001 because of her deep commitment to change making in Allentown. Not the other way around.
Like most American women (the U.S. ranked 84th in the world in the number of women in elected office, behind Cuba and Afghanistan) running for office was the last thing on her mind. Sam only ran for office because of her deep respect for those individuals who recruited her to run from both sides of the aisle.
Non-profit change making – from organizations Sam has created like The William Allen Construction Company, co-founded with Lee Butz to those Sam had the honor to lead, like Women’s Campaign Fund in Washington, DC – is the way most women are comfortable making the world around them a better place. Politics much less so.
But Sam came to respect the powerful positive difference women can make when they serve in elected office – and made it a goal to never give up, always keep learning so that she would be ready for the next time Sam could run for Mayor of her city, where she knew she could make a positive difference.
That is why Sam never closed my Friends of Siobhan “Sam” Bennett campaign account and kept it open for fifteen years. Despite her national work in that Presidential race prevented her from entering the race until four months before that primary – it is why Sam ran for Mayor again 2005. Leaving her national CEO position in Washington, DC. – it is why Sam is running for Mayor again in 2017.
“I wish you the very best in your campaign and truly feel that you are the best for Allentown. Though at this time I am unable to participate in politics in any fashion, I am wishing you the very best, and looking forward to voting for you in 2017.”
— Jeanette Eichenwald - Former Allentown City Councilwoman, Inaugural Chair, Friends of Siobhan "Sam" Bennett 2017